Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tied Together by Z. Allora

Title: Tied Together (The Dark Angels #2)
Author: Z. Allora
Purchase at Rocky Ridge Books
Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: P.L. Nunn
Genre: yaoi, comtemporary
Length: 274 pages
Formats: mobi, epub, pdf, print

Josh has loved Robin since the day they met, although he never dared to follow his heart. After the two are kicked out of their house, a night of despair turns into a night of discovery, forever changing them both. One taste of his dream leaves Josh hungry for more, but Robin’s fear of abandonment forces him to pull back, denying them both.

Their fortunes changed. Josh and Robin are now in the limelight with legendary megaband The Dark Angels, but Robin is still the scared little boy inside the rock star who isn't convinced he won't be left behind. He clings tightly to the word "brother" because stepbrothers can't leave, right?

There's only one way for Josh to prove to Robin, now and forever, that the love tying them together can never be broken.

This second book in the Dark Angels series is an excellent second look at the band and all its gay members. Josh and Robin showed up in the first book as supporting characters to larger than life Angel and his waffling bisexual love interest Dare. We could see clearly from their brief moments in the first book that there are ISSUES.

A huge theme is “who is family?” and “what does that mean?” The band’s prurient audiences love the idea of twincest, (Which for me is automatic back button) but the guys are stepbrothers. It’s a close enough connection to keep things from being simple for Robin. If they're brothers, they have the unbreakable connection of family, but if they're lovers, they have the possibility of the relationship unraveling. Robin can't bear to risk the loss of Josh, not seeing how he's risking the very loss he fears.

That luscious cover is your first hint to put on your yaoi glasses, because some things that work in that mindset would work less well in a straight contemporary. Once I’d adjusted, I could ease up on the aggravation of the plot, because the main thread is Robin’s “I can’t have what I want” vs Josh’s “I’m trying to give you what you want, damn it!” Hitting Robin with every cluebat under the sun became necessary, and I actually wanted to spank some sense into him. He’d probably enjoy it anyway.

However, I was very vexed with him because he was getting what he wanted and making sure no one, including himself, was happy about it. Fear not, there are attitude adjustments. We get to watch Robin slowly remove his head from dark places. Bless Josh for being a rock of determination and sticking out Robin’s endless waffling. It helps to not think too hard about the timeline.

It wouldn’t be a Z Allora book without lots and lots of hot sex, would it? Not always happy sex, but that’s kind of the point: they have to work for their happiness, and that’s harder than achieving orgasms. The book wanders into a bit of BDSM-lite, which makes perfect sense in context and isn’t so much as to squick this non-BDSM reader.

The other members of the band weave in and out of Josh and Robin’s story, so we can see how Angel and Dare are getting along, and watch Dusty fight a few inner demons with information and references. These guys are all evolving, and they’re all farther along at the end of the book, but nothing’s wrapped up so tightly that it’s the end of the story. Which is good news, because that means I’ll get another couple of books to read. 4.25 marbles

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